William D. Boyce, a Chicago newspaper publisher, was credited with bringing Scouting to America. He officially organized the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910, nearly two years after it was introduced in Great Britain by Scouting's founder, Lord Robert Baden Powell. Two years and eight months later, in October of 1913, several prominent citizens of a small rural community in Nebraska formed together to establish Sarpy County's first Scouting program. After several preliminary meetings, Troop #1 of Papillion, Nebraska held its first official meeting on February 9, 1914; exactly three years and one day after Scouting began in the United States. According to the Papillion Times, the meeting drew an attendance of 34 boys--an overwhelming number for the size of the Papillion community at that time.
The troop's first Scoutmaster, then known as the Chief Scoutmaster, Mr. Gerald Collins, was a prominent Papillion attorney. Mr. Collins, along with other founding fathers--Mr. Koch and Mr. Thompson--took the troop on its first outing on Saturday, May 2, 1914. Again, according to the Papillion Times, the troop hiked to the Platte river south of town and spent the day fishing, boating, and swimming. After eating dinner, they hiked back to town that evening for a total hike of over 15 miles.
In 1921, the Scouts under the direction of prominent Papillion citizens; Rev. B. Johansen as Scoutmaster and assisted by Dr. O.H. Magaret, Mr. H.A. Collins, and Mr. R.J. Nickerson, built their first permanent meeting place. This is the log structure now known as the Scout Cabin in City Park. Construction of the cabin began in July of that year with work being done mostly by the Scouts with assistance from other members of the community. August Reinking donated the stone for the foundation which came from the footings of the old mill house on Papillion creek and the oak timbers came from the George Nicholson farm near the river. In November of that year, the Scouts began using this building for their weekly Monday night meetings. However, it wasn't until June 17, 1922 that the building was officially dedicated by the Honorable James. T. Begley, District Judge. The dedication was celebrated with music by the Papillion band and an ice cream social. According to The Times, the function was attended by several members of the local community.
In 1927, Papillion Troop #1 was transferred from the national registry to the recently formed Covered Wagon Council based out of Omaha, later to be known as the Mid-America Council. At this time, the troop received a new number to fit into the council's scheme; number "60". Covered Wagon Council's original Troop 60 had been sponsored by Armor Meat Co. and met in South Omaha from 1921 until it disbanded in 1924. This troop had no relationship to Troop 60 of Papillion other than having the same unit number in prior years. The sponsoring organization for Papillion Troop 60 in 1927 was listed as the Brotherhood of St. Paul.
From 1927 through 1934, the troop remained active under the sponsorship of the Brotherhood and the guidance of Mr.Collins, Mr. Magaret, Mr. James Reed, and the minister, Mr. John Hall. In 1934, our country was in the throes of a great depression and the Midwest was suffering from a withering drought. These hardships were especially hard felt in the rural farming community that was Papillion during that time. Due to financial hardships, according to local residents, the Brotherhood of St. Paul could no longer afford to support the Boy Scout troop and began looking for another sponsor when the charter came up for renewal in March of 1934. Two months later, in May of that year, the sponsorship and support of the troop was assumed by the Papillion American Legion Post #32, until 2022. According to local residents who were either members of the troop or associated with the troop during this period, the troop continued to meet and remained active, even though the charter had officially lapsed. Under the Legion, the troop kept its original number: 60.
Because the charter expired in March 1934 and the American Legion did not file for the new charter until May of 1934, as well as the change in sponsorship, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) had taken a position that this represented a break in continuous service. In 1992, under continued pressure from Col. John Meyer and current Scoutmaster Don Whiteley, the BSA organization re-evaluated their position on the troop's service record. Based upon the recommendation of Mr. Jim Protzman, Council Commissioner, Troop 60 was awarded 79 years of continuous service. In May of 1993, Troop 60 celebrated their 80th Anniversary in City Park. The event took place on the grandstand next to the cabin that the Scouts of Troop 60 built in 1921. Present were the Papillion Chief of Police, the Commander of the American Legion, past Scouts and Scoutmasters, the Troop Committee, Scouts and parents. The troop camped overnight in the park and the Scouts and campers were treated to three inches of rain during a thunderstorm that evening.
In the troop's 80+ years of existence, it has ranged in size from six boys during the depression years of the 1930's to 77 during Scouting's heydays in the early 1960's. These Scouts graduated to serve both their community and their country as responsible citizens during peacetime and war. For over 100+ years, our troop has been helping Papillion's youth grow into manhood and several prominent residents of our community have passed through its ranks. It's a tradition that the current troop leadership is carrying on still today and we're "button-busting" proud of it!